Fantastic five: rekindling the romance in your marriage
When speaking to newly married couples on the intimacy of their marriage, we often ask about the depth of their friendships. We draw three circles of friendships for couples to consider: A supernatural friendship, a natural and a romantic friendship. We derived these three circles of friendship from Timothy Keller’s book, The Meaning of Marriage. A supernatural friendship is based on the depth of a couple’s mutual spirituality and ability to motivate each other to grow closer to godliness. A natural friendship is based on a couple’s consistent and frequent fun activities such as a drive, a walk, a new hobby etc. These activities bond couples through creation of shared memories. The natural friendship is developed even deeper when the activities are exclusive. And lastly we have the romantic friendship. This is based on a couple’s positive emotional investment in each other. The romantic friendship is built up by making emotional deposits in our partner’s love bank. One way of doing this is by focusing your energy on understanding your partner’s love language. A second way is to be in touch with the gender-specific romantic needs of your partner.
The gender-specific romantic needs for men and women are from Shaunti Feldhan’s book titled The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages. I am eager to get my personal copy before the year ends. Feldhan is the best-selling author of the titles For Women Only and For Men Only (co-authored with her husband, Jeff). I read both titles before I got married. They helped me a great deal in understanding my wife and developing accurate self-awareness. I expect her new title to be no less. I am also excited about it because I have read a few excerpts from it. One of my favourite excerpts is a section Shaunti calls The Fantastic Five. From empirical research she lists five things that married women and men consider to be key in building a romantic friendship. I passed this list to both men and women in our Dating Clinic seminars and I received unanimous responses of agreement. I shared the list with my wife and she agreed that the woman’s fantastic five was spot on. I was in agreement with Shanuti’s list for the men as well. So were the men in some of my fellowships. This list can help you work on your own relationship, especially if you ask your partner to show you which of the five could do with some improvement. Because the data to acquire this list was empirical, it goes without saying that there will be a few people who may feel exempted. If 83% agree, then it isn’t odd to find a few among us who belong to the 17%. Therefore, even as you read them, do not be compelled to examine it as a panacea for all your romantic woes.
Let us start with the women’s fantastic five:
- Take her by the hand
Women like it when their husbands hold their hands. It noticed that this happened a lot while my wife and I were dating. And it seemed to decrease when we got married. However, once in a while she would tell me how much it means to her. Gentlemen, take the ladies by the hand.
2. Leave her a voice mail message, text message, or email to tell her you love her and are thinking about her.
Random messages of affection score highly among wives. It is especially useful when you get to the busy season of child-rearing. Messages like this add to your love bank account in your wife because it shows that even in the busyness of life, you have her in mind.
3. Put your arm around her, or your hand on her knee, when you’re sitting next to her (especially when you’re in public).
Public displays of affection do not always have to be kisses and hugs. Subtle actions like putting your arm around your wife or on her knee in public accounts for romance on her end.
4. Sincerely tell her she’s beautiful.
The key word is sincere. In a world where many wives feel the need to compete with Hollywood models and their younger counterparts who have better bodies and no wrinkles, husbands would do well to affirm that their wives are beautiful to them. And the beauty must transcend mere physical appearance because that does fade. This calls for husbands to audit their relationships and find the things that make their wives beautiful.
5. Pull yourself out of a funk.
A funk is a state of depressing nervousness. While women offer great support to their husbands, it does get to appoint when they desire to see their husbands take the bull of life by its horns. Self-pity and drowning in nervousness can be turn-off. Men are called by God to be the leaders of the home. That does not mean you are not allowed to have a bad day. It means that you must find the will and the zeal to rise up above it. It will do great for your romantic friendship with your wife.
Now let us look at the men’s fantastic five:
- Notice his effort and sincerely thank him for it.
When wives see their husbands fix the broken cabinet, it is easy to assume that since it’s famously accepted as a man’s job, that no praise should accompany it. However, Shaunti tells us that your man will be romantically invested when you notice what he did and say thank you.
2. Verbally say “You did a great job at…”
A wife will find favour with her husband when she verbally acknowledges when he does something good. Since men were boys, hearing the words “good job” have had a positive effect on them. When it comes from the love of their lives, it has better effects.
3. Mention in front of others something he did well.
Women will be yet surprised to learn that number three on the list also has to do with verbal affirmation. This time the context changes to a public set up. Men like to be heroes. And when they achieve great feats, they are charged when they are publicly acknowledged. When a wife praises her husband in front of her friends, she is sure to score greatly. Too often in our time in ministry we hear women give private praise and public criticism. Reverse it. Give public praise and private criticism.
4. Show that you desire him sexually and that he pleases you sexually.
It almost goes without saying that men openly demonstrate it when they desire a woman sexually. It is not always obvious with women. Shaunti tells us that when wives demonstrate sexual desire for their husbands, they are filling up the love tank for a great ride. And when they show that they are pleased sexually by the love-making, the husband’s romance drive gets on high octane fuel. A couple’s sex life must be characterised by communication that spurs their romantic friendship to deepen.
5. Make it clear to him that he makes you happy.
Finally, every husband wants to know if his wife is happy. He wants to know if she is pleased with him and with the marriage. And if this is you dear wife, it would do your husband and your marriage a great benefit to let him know that you are a happy women.
What do you think of the list? Do you agree with it? What would you add?
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We are having the Dating Clinic conflict class again due to public demand. Often we assume conflict to be a horrible thing. Yet conflict can help us understand each other deeply, if we handle it correctly. If you wish to attend, send your full names and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org. This may be the last conflict class for the year. We will proceed to another topic afterwards. As usual we have limited slots. Open to all couples. Singles can attend as well. #DatingClinic